Days GON By October 2011

State-Record Bow Bear From Swallow Creek; Shot In The Foot Hunt Accident Awards;

GON Staff | October 1, 2011

In 2001, Tim’s Swallow Creek WMA bear weighed 530 pounds and was the new No. 1 Georgia bow-kill of all time. Currently, it’s No. 2 bow-kill behind a 566-pounder out of Fannin County killed by Stephen Patton in 2009.

Each month we turn back the clock to see what was being reported in the pages of GON, both 20 and 10 years ago. Here’s what was happening.

20 Years Ago: October 1991

Shot-In-The Foot Hunt Accident Awards: During the 1990 season, there were 94 hunting accidents recorded in Georgia. Included among them were seven fatalities. Forty-three hunters fell from tree stands; 60 of the injuries were self-inflicted; 34 involved shooter-victim accidents. The accidents ranged from wrenching tragedies to the ridiculous. Most accidents could have been readily avoided if basic safety rules had been observed.

GON published a list of some of the more outstanding, inept ways Georgia hunters have caused bodily harm — mostly to their own bodies. The names were changed to protect the injured and the foolish, but the facts, taken from DNR hunt-accident reports, are facts. Here are a few of them.

Special Award For Fastest Job of Coming Out of a Hunting Boot and Counting Toes: This award goes to the 33-year-old Henry County hunter, who while deer hunting on Oct. 27, 1990, needed a place to rest the muzzle of his rifle so he could fool with the safety.

Looking about, he spied the upper of his leather hunting boot. Perfect! The boot top even had a nifty little rim to ensure the gun barrel wouldn’t scoot off. He planted the business end of his loaded deer rifle firmly on the top of his boot and proceeded to attempt to engage the safety on the rifle. The rifle discharged. The bullet aerated his foot.

Pink Elephant Award: Awarded to a 61-year-old “Otis Mayberry” in Monroe County who decided to climb into a deer stand opening-day afternoon of deer season to look at deer. According to the hunt report, Otis wasn’t actually hunting, he just wanted to watch deer.

And pink elephants.

Seems Otis had done a little drinking that day and was reportedly under the influence of alcoholic beverages.

As he was climbing into the stand, his foot slipped from a ladder-stand step, and Otis took the short, direct rout 10 feet to the ground.

Otis suffered broken ribs.

Best Reason Not To Overwork Your Bird Dog: In Upson County, two hunters, Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum, were quail hunting and training a young bird dog. The hunting partners chanced upon a covey of quail and Tweedle-Dee shot a quail. His bird dog retrieved it for him. To give the dog a little more retrieving practice, Tweedle-Dee then threw the bird in front of Tweedle-Dum, so the dog would again retrieve the quail.

The bird dog hunted up the dead quail for the second time and brought the bird to Tweedle-Dum, who laid his shotgun on the ground to take the bird from the pup. The muzzle of his shotgun was pointing straight at Tweedle-Dee, who was standing 10 to 15 feet away. The pup, in his excitement, stepped on the action of the 12-gauge shotgun and set the gun off.

The load of No. 8 shot hit Tweedle-Dee solidly in the left leg just above the ankle, shattering the bone.

Worst Way To Remove a Ring Finger: This 21-year-old Candler County hunter was climbing into his deer stand and stopped just short of the platform to pull his rifle up to him with a pull-cord. Perhaps believing he would see a deer as he climbed the tree, he had already jacked a live round into the chamber.

As the lever-action rifle ascended muzzle first, it discharged the bullet, striking the hunter in the ring and middle fingers on the right hand.

The hunter reported the gun was not cocked and that the hammer may have caught on an object, causing the firearm to discharge.

Editor’s Note: The article wasn’t intended to make light of the anguish some of these hunters went through. But notice how easily these accidents would have been prevented if a little common sense came into play. We don’t want to put you in the magazine one day for doing something silly while hunting.

10 Years Ago: October 2001

• State-Record Bow Bear: Five middle Georgia bowhunters were on a mission. Tim Lamb, Jason Handy, Clay Hood and Raymond Nipper, all of Wadley in Jefferson County, and Matt Slappey, of Decatur, all wanted to go bear hunting.

On the opening day of the 2001 archery season, these five hunters were all positioned around a pair of sorghum fields on Swallow Creek WMA. None of the hunters had ever seen a bear in the woods.

At 6:30 p.m., Raymond heard a large animal circling the plot. He saw something black moving in the shadows and making a lot of noise. The bear moved past him toward Tim, and in a few minutes Raymond watched Tim stand to get ready to shoot. The bear closed to within 25 yards of Tim’s stand.

“It was the first time hunting I have been nervous and scared at the same time,” said Tim.

When the bear reached the edge of the plot, it sat back on its haunches, then stood and took two steps forward, giving Tim a broadside shot. Tim had his High Country bow at full draw and made a smooth release. The bear bellowed, wheeled and ran — only to fall just 20 yards away. Tim stood in his stand shaking nearby tree limbs yelling, “I got him!”

The mountain of a bear weighed 350 to 400 pounds, they guessed, and there was no way they could drag it out. They hiked out and called Area Manager Wayne Hubbard, who opened the gate and drove them back to the bear. Wayne’s eyes popped when he saw the bear. “This is probably a record bear,” he said.

It was midnight before the bear was placed on certified scales, and it pulled the scales to 530 pounds.

Tim’s bear was the second heaviest ever recorded in Georgia history and the best bow-killed bear ever recorded. Currently, Tim’s bear is the No. 2 Georgia bow-kill of all time and tied for No. 8 of all-time.

“It would have never happened without Wayne,” said Tim. “He went way beyond the call of duty to help us out. He’s a super guy.”

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